Contec CMS600P2: The danger that nobody seems to have noticed
There is a perception among buyers that products listed on Amazon are of a higher quality and the sellers more trustworthy than those found on sites like eBay or Alibaba. Sadly, this is not necessarily case, and the inherent trust that a listing on Amazon automatically conveys to the seller can be dangerous.
This is no more so the case than when it comes to choosing an ultrasound machine to scan your animals. Goat breeders, in particular, are enamoured with a portable ultrasound machine listed on Amazon. This machine is sold – but, crucially, not supported by – Contec Medical. In fact, the official word from Contec management on this machine is: DON’T BUY IT! They will not support it. It’s not even made by them; Contec do not make any of their own ultrasound machines. They are simply capitalising on the popularity of portable ultrasound at the moment.
To make matters worse, many of those selling these machines on Amazon are subdistributors who create and close down accounts whenever they feel like it. They sell a hundred or so scanners (with a picture of the US flag to gain the trust of buyers), and once a few months have passed and the complaints begin coming in, they close up shop and start again under a new name if necessary. Most of the time, however, people don’t even bother to pursue them over their faulty machines. They shrug their shoulders and think “at least it was only $900.” A few might take the time to leave negative feedback on Amazon or eBay, but all the seller needs to do in this instance is make a new product listing.
Another thing the vast majority of buyers of the Contec Medical ultrasound series don’t realise is that they are not legal for use in the United States. In fact, they’re not even legal for import, but the FDA is too overwhelmed to check out every shipment arriving from China. If they did, they’d find that the machine has no mechanical or thermal index displayed on screen, and presumably is not monitoring ultrasonic outputs at all. This means the ultrasound machine could be imparting dangerous levels of ultrasonic energy into the fetus, and the user would have absolutely no idea.
Ultrasound has a fantastic safety record, but it’s worth remembering that this is because, for the decades since it began being used diagnostically, it’s always been made by reputable companies and used by trained professionals. The last few years has seen both of these assumptions violated. Anybody can sell an ultrasound machine, and anybody can buy one. This has put us in a situation where neither buyer nor seller necessarily understand anything about ultrasound and how to use it safely.
The big problem right now is that social media has bestowed undeserved attention upon this model of ultrasound machine. It is natural, when one makes a purchasing decision, to have confirmation bias: to want to extol the virtues of one’s investment, and defend it ’til the death. This psychology is well-studied in the stock market, for example. As a result, the loud voices of the few who have had (or claim to have) success with this model drown out or even prevent any input from those who have not had such positive experiences. Those who are struggling to get any kind of image, or whose machine has simply broken after a few weeks, feel that they must be the exception or that they simply didn’t get on well with scanning. So they say nothing, at least not in a public forum like a Facebook group. This leaves machines like the CMS900P2 to live another day, and claim another innocent buyer, falsely reassured by a handful of (non expert) people.
Need help choosing a safe ultrasound machine for your goats or dogs? Get ‘Ultrasound for Canine Pregnancy Scanning’ here (next day delivery to most areas of the UK, United States and Canada) before you spend hundreds of dollars, and educate yourself on what to look out for in a machine and supplier. Still need help? No problem. The Animal Ultrasound Association is committed to safe scanning. Simply contact us for free help and advice with any species of animal, any time.